March 16, 2020
The General Service Office (G.S.O.) U.S./Canada has been receiving inquiries about how groups
should respond to the COVID-19 (coronavirus). Groups and members are concerned about health and
safety issues, and are looking for guidance on how to address this question.
The General Service Office is a repository of shared group experience and functions as a resource
center for A.A. members and groups who are looking for the shared experience of the Fellowship.
Providing guidance on health issues is outside the scope of the A.A. sharing that G.S.O. offers.
However, we might suggest contacting your national, state/provincial and local health authorities
for appropriate information.
We do have some general experience to share regarding how some groups and members have begun to
address this issue. Our collected experience suggests that groups that are unable to meet at their
usual meeting places have begun to meet digitally; doing so in a sensible and helpful manner to
allow the group to continue keeping the focus on our common welfare and primary purpose.
Some groups that are still meeting in person have shared about making changes to customs at their
meetings. Some examples have included: avoiding shaking hands and handholding; making sure meeting
hospitality tables are sanitary; or suspending food hospitality for the time being. Many groups
have also made contingency plans in case the group is temporarily unable to meet in person.
Regardless of group decisions, each individual is responsible for their own health decisions.
Contingency plans have included: creating contact lists and keeping in touch by phone, email or
social media; meeting by phone or online. If a group isn’t holding its regular meetings, they may
want to communicate this to local A.A. resources, such as the district, area and intergroup or
central office. Many local A.A. entities have added information to their websites about how to
change a meeting format from “in-person” to online. Some groups have shared that they are utilizing
digital platforms such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, or a conference call. Some groups have also added
a “virtual Seventh Tradition basket” to remain self-supporting and to keep up the services at the
group and the A.A. entities that serve them.
Those who may have questions regarding A.A. Anonymity Traditions on digital platforms can review:
the Conference-approved pamphlet, Understanding Anonymity and the G.S.O. Service Material Anonymity
Online and Digital Media and the A.A. Guidelines on the Internet.
G.S.O. has received inquiries about the A.A. events it coordinates throughout the year. Visit
www.aa.org for up-to-date information regarding G.S.O./A.A.W.S. coordinated events. Please be
assured that the health and safety of attendees is a priority. G.S.O. is closely monitoring
relevant health advisories regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus).
We hope this limited sharing is helpful.